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Why generational pressure is the key to climate change policy
Change is coming, but not from the generation that currently holds positions of power.
DANIEL C. ESTY: The key to progress on environment broadly and on climate change in particular is to change values. I think this has to be understood as in some regards an ethical issue, a moral issue. And one has to see it as a wrong to contaminate the planet and to put at risk the future of humanity on the planet. And I think that change is coming and curiously but perhaps not really surprisingly it is coming from young people much more from the generation that's currently in positions of leadership. Greta and other young people are out there saying to the leaders in political positions of power not only in the United States but across the world: Step up, you need to do more. And I think we have seen again and again that transformational change is often driven by generational change. And I think it's almost certainly going to be true on climate change. Fifty years ago if we'd had this interview I'd probably be smoking or maybe smoking a pipe as a professor. That's so unacceptable now you don't even have to tell me that I can't come in and light up a cigarette.
Norms have changed. Values have changed. We know now that that's completely unacceptable and a threat to public health. And I think we're starting to get there on climate change. Things that might have in the past seemed normal, acceptable, even if they seemed a little bad, a little bit of harm are increasingly totally unacceptable. And we therefore have I think the foundation for the kind of generational change and change in values that can really drive us more quickly towards climate change solutions.
In our Better Planet book there's a really beautiful essay by one of the students at Yale, one of several student essays in this case by a guy named Paul Rink spelling out how young people in particular are starting to drive some of these court cases where they take on both the government and the big energy industry companies and say it's up to you to make our future secure and you're not doing the job you need to do.
And I do think that that risk that there will be a change in society's values and that the court system, the judges, the legal community will begin to say to the energy world you do have some responsibility here. You're not protected from liability and that prospect might get the energy companies to become part of the solution as opposed to leading the problem. If you want to ask me about the best path forward it would be to get those energy companies to transform the vision of themselves from being oil companies or worse yet coal companies and to really think of themselves as leaders of a path to a clean energy future. And I think there is evidence that people have done that in the past in other arenas, and I think it could be done here.
- With figures like Greta Thunberg and demonstrations like the global climate strike, it's become apparent that young people are driving the effort to stop climate change.
- This generational pressure is the key to change. In the same way that smoking became less accepted in society, even frowned upon, so too can the behaviors that have sped up climate change.
- Moving forward, energy companies will play a major role if they can reimagine themselves as part of the solution to this crisis and forge a better path to save the planet.
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Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Building a personal connection with students can counteract some negative side effects of remote learning.
- Not being able to engage with students in-person due to the pandemic has presented several new challenges for educators, both technical and social. Digital tools have changed the way we all think about learning, but George Couros argues that more needs to be done to make up for what has been lost during "emergency remote teaching."
- One interesting way he has seen to bridge that gap and strengthen teacher-student and student-student relationships is through an event called Identity Day. Giving students the opportunity to share something they are passionate about makes them feel more connected and gets them involved in their education.
- "My hope is that we take these skills and these abilities we're developing through this process and we actually become so much better for our kids when we get back to our face-to-face setting," Couros says. He adds that while no one can predict the future, we can all do our part to adapt to it.
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
Saudi Arabia Plans Futuristic City, "Neom" (Full Promotional Video)<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="c646d528d230c1bf66c75422bc4ccf6f"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/N53DzL3_BHA?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.